A relapse can happen when you have
schizophrenia. In a relapse, your symptoms return and
may be so severe that they cause a
psychotic episode. This means you can't tell the
difference between what is real and what isn't real. A relapse or a psychotic
episode can be very intense and scary.
Preventing a relapse
You can do some things to help
prevent a relapse:
Take your medicines as your doctor suggests.
Not taking medicine is the main cause of relapse.
Reduce stress in
your life. This may result in fewer relapses. For more information on reducing
stress, see the topic Stress Management.
Don't drink alcohol or use illegal drugs.
Go to your counseling sessions and classes even when you don't
feel like it or when you think they are not helping you.
self-help or support group. Self-help and support groups are usually run by the
members of the group, not health professionals.
Learn the first signs of relapse, and seek help early. Common
signs of relapse include:
Staying away from or not being interested
in other people.
Not paying attention to
what is going on.
Relapse action plan
An action plan says in writing
what you can do to help prevent a relapse and what you need to do if you have
signs of a relapse. You will need the help of others to get through a relapse.
An action plan lists the general signs of a relapse and those that
may be special to you.
Write down the general signs
Work with your doctor to find out if you have any special
An action plan lists things that need to be taken care of
during a relapse. Think about:
Who will take care of your children if you have
Who will manage your money and finances.
hospital or other facility you'd like to go to.
Who to tell if you
have a relapse.
Action plans also can include legal documents. Write these
when you have few or no symptoms, and ask your doctor and lawyer to help
advance directive tells your wishes for treatment
during a relapse. An advance directive can be very useful if you have severe
symptoms of fear or suspicion of others during a relapse.
durable power of attorney says who will be in charge
of making decisions when you can't decide things yourself. This document is
very helpful if you refuse treatment during a relapse when you would otherwise
A power of attorney lets you choose someone to help you
deal with money during a relapse. Find someone you trust to co-sign financial
documents, such as credit card applications or mortgages, to protect yourself
financially while you are having a relapse.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.